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Last Updated: Monday, 17 April 2006, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
EU body challenged over GM report
By Alix Kroeger
BBC news, Brussels

GM crops
The EC is accused of approving products despite safety concerns
Two environmental groups say they have documents which show a double standard on the safety of genetically-modified organisms in the European Commission.

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace accuse the commission of telling the public GMOs are safe but admitting to safety concerns in a report.

The two groups are citing a report submitted by the commission to the World Trade Organisation.

The European Commission is the EU's executive body.

'Scientific uncertainty'

Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace are accusing the European Commission of approving GM crops and foods despite serious doubts over their impact on health and the environment.

Using freedom of information rules, they obtained the commission's report to the World Trade Organisation, which is hearing a complaint against European bans on GMOs.

The report warns that there are still large areas of scientific uncertainty and disagreement, and that based on current data there is no way to rule out the development of cancer or allergies as a result of GMOs.

It raises concerns about weeds and insects becoming resistant to the toxins in GM crops, and it warns that GM plants like oilseed rape and sugar beet can easily cross with their wild relatives.

Just two weeks ago the EU agriculture commissioner repeated that no GM products were approved unless they were completely safe.

But those assurances are not getting through. In a recent EU poll, nearly two-thirds said they were worried about the safety of GM foods.

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